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MeTheSwede

Please help me before couplers make my head explode

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MeTheSwede

Hello everyone!

 

I'm new in the hobby currently working on a Rokuhan Z scale layout in mini format. I'm considering upscaling to N scale for future projects and am interested in making a shunting layout for pre-container era freight. From what I can gather the rapido couplers which are standard for the Japanese brand's rolling stock are badly suited for shunting. I've spent lots and lots of hours reading webpages, forum posts and watching videos about various N scale couplers and uncouplers, but I'm not getting much wiser, mostly more and more confused. 

 

I suppose there should be some efficent and fairly easy solution to the problem of shunting some wamus from Kato or Tomix using some kind of couplers together with either automatic uncoupling or sticks, but I fail to find it. I guess what I hope most for is someone saying "I did this, it worked and it will work for you too."

 

Any help would be very appreciated.

Edited by MeTheSwede
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Kiha66

Welcome!  

 

In Japanese N gauge, Kato and Tomix both have their own various couplers.  For freight type knuckle couplers, they have different and not always compatible styles.  Both work well, but neither are suited to automatic uncoupling.  Usually I have to resort to the "hand of god" method to connect and separate trains.  From what I've seen, Japanese modelers are more into timetable operations rather than shunting freight cars.  Your best bet would probably be to convert to microtrains type couplers, which would require some work on your part to get them to fit but will probably give you the most realistic operations.  Good luck!  Be sure to share your journey here on the forum, I'm sure people would love to see what you come up with. 

 

-Sam 

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roadstar_na6

Most newer Tomix locos have magnetic Rapido couplers which can be activated by driving over a magnet in the rails (that can probably be powered, too). If you only need to couple locos and cars that could be an easy way to do.

If you want to combine and take apart complete trains you‘d need to check magnetic knuckle couplers, the most common ones are made by MicroTrains and basically work the same as the Tomix loco ones.

 

I just use regular Knuckle Couplers and uncouple with a longer toothpick 😄 It however sometimes causes a bit of trouble with lighter two axle cars because the opposite wheel set gets lifted a bit and sometimes jumps off the rails.

Edited by roadstar_na6
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Tony Galiani

Quite some time ago I had the opportunity to operate a Japanese themed shunting layout where the locomotives and stock were equipped with MicroTrains couplers.  These worked really well and the delayed action feature was easy to use.  However, the modeller had put a lot of effort into fine tuning the rolling stock and the track.  His efforts were rewarded with easy and smooth operation so I can recommend the MT couplers if you have the patience to do the set up work.

MT couplers also have a slinky effect and this can be offset but adding the truck restraining strings which he did on his rolling stock.

Cheers,

Tony Galiani

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disturbman

I'll leave this here:
 

 

Operated using neodyme magnets placed under the trackbed.

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Kamome

I feel your frustration and this was one of the reasons I started collecting some Japanese HO and adding Kadee couplers. Even with basic track layer magnets, it can be fun to move around wagons and build outgoing consists.

 

The Japanese market that I have seen on rental layouts tend to enjoy watching trains moving through a scene rather than the finer details of railway operation, even in HO. In my experience, even stopping a train at a station seems somewhat indulgent. 

 

Micro Train Magne Matic couplers look reasonably good and are probably a very good option. As you will be paying a lot of close attention to the trains, the Arnold couplers look horrible and create huge gaps between wagons IMO. Some modellers can overlook this detail and its all about personal preference.

 

To cut down on investment in couplers, you could always put short rakes of wagons together, 2 or 3 Wamus in a block and then shunt these short consists around.

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MeTheSwede
11 hours ago, roadstar_na6 said:

I just use regular Knuckle Couplers and uncouple with a longer toothpick 😄 It however sometimes causes a bit of trouble with lighter two axle cars because the opposite wheel set gets lifted a bit and sometimes jumps off the rails.

 

When you say "regular Knuckle Couples" what more exactly is that? Is it Kato [KA-11-702]?

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MeTheSwede

Thanks everyone who has replied.


Micro Trains Magnematic Couplers certainly seem to produce the most impressive results. The problems are which of their products to get for what rolling stock and getting some hint on how to fit them. All I manage to find is how to fit MicroTrains couplers onto Kato locomotives made for the American market.

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Tonytramman

I like that controller, everything seems to be incorporated! I assume that is some kind of pre set train pack ?!

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disturbman

@Tonytramman You are referring to the one in the video I posted? It looks like a pre-2000s controller. I think it is now superseded by 5517 (TCS Power Unit N-DU101-CL). There is one N401 controller on the YJA at the moment and there seem to be a constant flow of them if you want.

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Tonytramman

yes, I have a fascination for the controllers at the moment...

 

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MeTheSwede

I just realised that for some of the Kato freight cars for sale on Hoppysearch there's a link for Magne-Matic couplers in their product descriptions and the product description for those couplers lists which Kato product series they are compatible with. Now I'm getting a lot more confident about this.

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